Established in 1956, Kedron State High School is one of the most successful multi-cultural high schools in Brisbane. Located in the northern metropolitan area, the school’s hard working staff and dedicated students achieve outstanding results in academia, music and sport. The student population of just under 1200 students originates from some 50 different primary schools and a similar number of different nationalities are represented. The school welcomes 50 international students and 300 English as a Second Language (ESL) students each year and encourages optimum performance, reflected in the school motto – ‘To Strive is to Shine’.
In 2009 work began to create a vision for the school in terms of the use of technology for teaching and learning. As a traditional, academic, disciplined school with a proven academic record, it was important that we maintained the teaching expertise developed over years, and complemented this with the opportunities that access to new technologies afforded both staff and students. The marriage of these two methods of delivery is called “Blended Learning” and after extensive research and the experience of the teaching staff at Kedron, it is the preferred model of delivery for our school and our eLearning vision was formed.
Kedron’s Vision for eLearning
Our vision is to create a dynamic learning community where the use of ICTs is integral to the learning of every student. Through authentic engagement and involvement with their learning, we are striving to equip our students with the tools and skills for their future world.
Research has shown that 1to1 programs – where there is a computer for each student– are most effective when students have a computer that is theirs. Indeed, when the personal use of the device is a given, teachers can get on with teaching, and students with learning, without access to the technology becoming a disruptor. Currently, all students in years 9-11 have their own Laptop (close to 750 devices) to access the curriculum. Next year this will be extended to include year 12 also.
Kedron’s High was both honoured and excited to be chosen as one the 20 Australian schools for the 2012 Partners In Learning Program. Kedron was mindful of the fact that there was an important role to be played in ensuring that students were provided with the skills needed to navigate the world as they are experiencing it, not as previous generations have. Much has been written about 21st Century skills of the workplace and beyond, and 24/7 access to a learning tool such as a Laptop would provide the balance between Kedron’s established traditional modes of learning and new ways of learning. The Partners in Learning Program has provided many opportunities for the school to reflect on the work it had already undertaken through the lens of the framework and ongoing support from Microsoft. The Partners in Learning program focus on sound pedagogy has enabled learningful conversations (Senge, 1990) between teaching staff.
Teaching and non-teaching staff have been working to develop their understanding of digital pedagogy – using technologies to complement and improve the teaching and learning in their classrooms – and the use of technology within school to improve overall effectiveness of systems and administration. Structured programs have been developed for staff to access training and professional learning opportunities to develop their skills in the contemporary classroom.
As part of the PIL program project at Kedron the whole year 11 English student cohort submitted a draft of their assignment in OneNote; they were then given oral plus visual feedback. Teachers invested their time and effort into two feedbacks on the draft which the syllabus allows – this was done by combining Community Clips and OneNote. The English Department had those papers marked off-site by a marker. When the marks were returned, Year 11 teachers reviewed the results the marker had given and rather than giving back the students their criteria sheet they created a podcast for each student. This allowed students to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Students were then asked to make a judgement as to what they thought their result was before actually seeing it. The process allowed students to reflect on their mark and to determine what they need to do to improve in future.
The process saw an improvement in outcomes and whilst these results didn’t follow strict research methods outcomes compared to the same assessment task last year show clear improvement across the group.
The OneNote project is one example of the reflection in practice that involvement in the Partners in Learning program has seen across the school. Most importantly this involvement allows Kedron to provide the best learning opportunities for both students and staff, along with the chance to connect with other members of the Microsoft global learning network.
Thanks to Myron McCormick, Steve Lang, & Chrissie Coogan – Kedron Senior High School Partners in Learning Team for putting writing this post.